The Rembrandt Painting to Sell For $18.4 M. at Auction

The Rembrandt Painting, a Recently Rediscovered One, Could Sell For $18.4 M. at Sotheby's London Auction on December the 6th.

Oct 7, 2023By Angela Davic, News, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and Analysis
The Rembrandt painting
Amsterdam’s Rembrandt House Museum. Via Wikipedia


The Rembrandt Painting, a Recently Rediscovered One, Could Sell For $18.4 M. at Sotheby’s. The auction is taking place in London on December 6th. Overall, the piece will be a part of the OId Masters and 19th-century paintings evening sale. Christie’s was the first institution to launch the painting called The Adoration of the Kings. At that time, Amsterdam 2021, the estimated value was €10,000 to €15,000.


The Rembrandt Painting Attracted Enough Interest

The Rembrandt Painting
The Jewish Bride by Rembrandt van Rijn, c. 1665-69, via Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Now, the Sotheby’s estimated the pieces value at $12.2 million to $18.4 million. A personal family collection in Germany committed the piece, which was eventually found at Christie’s in Amsterdam. Its pedigree history states that Johannes Carel Hendrik Heldring, a Dutch collector, initially purchased it in 1955. Following that internet auction in October 2021, Circle of Rembrandt claimed ownership of it.


Nevertheless, the picture attracted enough interest to drive bidders well over the expected price. So, it closed at €860,000 (fees included). The successful bidder from the Amsterdam auction sought Sotheby’s expert George Gordon to reattribute the piece to Rembrandt. This was an 18-month study that utilized infrared photography technologies.


The Rembrandt Painting
Rembrandt’s The Adoration of the Kings is expected to sell for more than $12 million at auction. COURTESY SOTHEBY’S


A painting’s perceived worth occasionally rises noticeably when its source of origin is revealed. A little nocturne depicting a heavenly scenario had its auction estimation soar by a few hundred dollars due to a change in provenance from the Circle of Rembrandt to the real Dutch artist.

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Pulled From a Public Sale

rembrandt van rijn self portrait apostle paul dutch golden age
Self Portrait as the Apostle Paul by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1661, via Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam


Volker Manuth was one of the most well-known academics who backed Gordon’s reattribution attempts. In 2019, he co-authored a catalogue raisonné of the Dutch master’s works. Gordon explained to the Art Newspaper that the figure was based on previous Rembrandt-related transactions at Sotheby’s. This also a self-portrait that was sold in July 2020 for £14.5 million (with fees).


It estimated price was £12 million to £16 million. With charges in the range of £8 million to £10 million, an oil design for a head of Christ sold in 2018 for £9.5 million. The Louvre Abu Dhabi made the transaction. Sales data from other auction venues, such as the panel painting Abraham and Angels (ca. 1646) at Sotheby’s in New York, presented it in 2021, helped to determine the value.


aristotle homer rembrandt
Aristotle with a Bust of Homer by Rembrandt, 1653 via The Metropolitan Museum


Although the piece was pulled from an open sale, it was soon sold discreetly “within the initial estimate of $20 million-$30 million”. With the sale of Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo (1658) for €23.2 million plus fees in 2009, Christie’s also owns the global sale benchmark for Rembrandt. When Rembrandt’s Saint James the Greater (1661), a different biblical setting, was auctioned off in 2007, it brought around $25.8 million.

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By Angela DavicNews, Discoveries, In-depth Reporting, and AnalysisAngela is a journalism student at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and received a scholarship for continued education in Prague. She completed her internship at the daily newspaper DANAS and worked as an executive editor at Talas.